We’ve got a bit of a thing for oranges in our house at the moment. Maybe it’s their gorgeous sunny colour on these dreary days, maybe we need vitamin C to stem the running of noses or maybe we just need the feel-good vibe that comes from releasing that wonderful citrus oil scent. In any case, as well as the marmalade (which did set and has been given a thumbs up all round), P gets quite beside himself at the offer of a clementine- I’m sure would eat them until he burst given the chance, while I sometimes just want to juice them and drink the ‘liquid sunshine’ and sometimes, like last night, want to cook with them.
This is a ‘Holy Eye’ recipe in the sense that it was inspired by the baking ingredients I had to hand, but like any cake, the measurements need to be right. My measurements are all in old fashioned ounces because I based them on the sponge recipe I learned as a child, when metric hadn’t really taken hold in the kitchen. Following a recent thread on Soulemama I’m going to attempt to give US measures as well, just in case someone from across the pond feels inspired to try it…
ORANGE AND ALMOND CAKE
4 oz (1/2 cup) butter or sunflower spread
4 oz (1/2 cup) soft brown sugar
3 oz (3/8 cups) self raising flour
1 oz (1/8 cup) ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 oz (1/4 cup) flaked almonds
2 tablespoons any sugar
Preheat oven to 180c
1. Beat the soft brown sugar and butter together until creamy.
2. Whisk the eggs and gradually beat into the sugar and butter mixture.
3. Fold in the self-raising flour, ground almonds, baking powder and the zest of the orange. Keep remainder of the orange for later.
4. Spoon mixture into a greased or lined cake tin, approx 20cm diameter. Smooth top and sprinkle flaked almonds over the top.
5. Bake for around 35 minutes until cake is risen and springy to the touch.
6. While cake is cooling, juice the orange and put the juice along with the 2 tbsp sugar into a pan. Heat slowly, stirring, until sugar has dissolved.
7. Using a sharp knife, pierce cake all over the surface. Carefully pour orange sugar syrup over so that it sinks into the holes. Leave to cool completely.
Sorry for the quality of the picture- there isn’t a lot of decent light to be had around here. It’s just a shame you can’t smell it really- oh my goodness!
I can’t claim to be the originator of this idea for a sandwich. I was taught to make it by my sister, but I’ve a feeling even she got the idea from somewhere she used to go to eat. It’s definitely a candidate for the Holy Eye Cookbook, however, as in a way it says something about my big sister. She has an ability to take the ordinary, do something a little unexpected but make it work very well- like hanging pictures higher up the wall than you would think or finding second hand objects and reusing them in a way that is somehow magical. This sandwich is similar- when you look at the ingredients you think ‘eh?’, not least as the combination ranges from Greek to Chinese influences, yet somehow it just works.
Anyhow, you take some fresh crusty bread and split it so you’ve got a nice big surface area. Spread this quite generously with hummus and sprinkle on finely chopped red onion and roughly chopped fresh coriander. Finish with a smattering of Chinese sweet chilli dipping sauce. On a wintery day like this the fresh, zinging flavours evoked sunshine and cut through the stodginess of all the comfort food we’ve reached for recently. However, this works just as beautifully in summer- filling yet light. Try it- you might just like it!
Okay, this is turning into a very trying day, with everything from nearly lost expensive shoes to no-show Fed-Ex guys. When it comes to writing here, I can’t show what I’m knitting because it’s all presents for birthdays yet to come and various other factors have conspired to keep us away from the Great Outdoors these last few days.
It was all getting a bit ‘aargh!’ so I decided, inspired by this lovely blog entry by Soule Mama amongst other things to make like Maria and think of a few of my favourite things. So in no particular order:
Babies still love to play in boxes
Having wanted a pincushion for ages, mum has now given me this very old one which belonged to my grandmother. I think it was once a velvet tomato. Now it is very soft and saggy but rather lovely, don’t you think?
My Jam store. The eagle-eyed among you will notice that the Apple and Date Chutney will be ready to eat in a week or two.
My recipe file. It’s getting scruffy but it’s full of treasures that may one day be the Holy Eye cookbook. We wouldn’t eat as well without it.
All I need now is a mountain to prance about on and all will be well.